Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Love and sequins for Andreja Pejic, and other girl-heroes

Andreja Pejic drawing by Rebecca HowdenThe world can always use more courageous, poised and vibrant women like Andreja.

I feel like it’s appropriate to write one more essay in admiration of the iridescent Andreja Pejic, formerly known as Andrej. I’ve talked a lot about how cool it is for a man to embrace femininity, and that’s true… but it’s even cooler for a woman to find such a strong sense of self, and the courage to express that to the world without apologies.

I’m thinking of a passage from John Irving’s In One Person, where the narrator is reflecting on the particularly alluring poise of the transgender women he has known: “It’s daunting to be around them; they know themselves so well. Imagine knowing yourself that well. Imagine being that sure about who you are.” I can’t pretend to even begin to know what it’s like to grapple with things like gender and sexual orientation, and I don’t want to compare anything I’ve struggled with to that. But identity is something we all grapple with in our own ways. We’re all at war with ourselves ­– sometimes quietly, sometimes frantically – and it can be lonely, terrifying. For me, seeing someone reach a place of real self-knowledge­, and being serene in that knowledge, is always an uplifting thing. (more…)

I still see it all in my head in burning red

Taylor Swift Red

In honour of Taylor Swift Week (because, shut up, yeah?) I’m thinking about everything red.  Everything that looks red, and feels red, but is also black and white in a way. Lacy, romantic Valentino dresses. My favourite Kate Moss lipstick. Someone playing an acoustic guitar, just for me. I see perfect nights, saturated with the smell of champagne, where you laugh so much your belly hurts, and you think your girlfriends are the most beautiful creatures you’ve ever seen. Or dancing to Call Me Maybe in someone’s backyard. Or lazy mornings curled up with someone warm, feeling their skin against yours and knowing you’ll remember it one day. Knowing that it’s rare, but also so simple. Dreading the day when you might hate each other. Remembering out of nowhere a forgotten ember of hurt, and wondering if he ever remembers you, if he still has a box of your things. I see nights walking slowly down the street alone, feeling like you’re underwater, and coming home to throw your high heels at the wall and cry into your cat’s fur. I see Vera Wang wedding gowns, stained an inky garnet, dripping off pale skin. Red leaves, cold wind, long hair. Falling in love with the smallest things, and wondering how anyone in the world couldn’t be in love with that gap in his teeth.

That’s what Red sounds like to me.

It kind of looks like this.

Red collage (more…)

Oh, you pretty things

Those first daylight savings nights are pretty much the best ever. Obviously in Melbourne the start of spring is all a ruse, and winter still drips its dreariness through the days, but the air feels different somehow, fresher. There’s a lightness we’ve been missing, and it fills me with a yearning for long, bright days. I want swimming pools and milkshakes and winter-pale legs in denim shorts. Salt in the air, the sound of coffee brewing from inside a café. Nostalgia for things that never happened, and things that weren’t that great when they did. I want Bowie singing Oh! You Pretty Things, I want the scent of Malibu and diet coke, I want long ponytails and cold mornings and fluoro pink everything. I want everything through an Instagram filter.

Spring, in my head, looks like this. (more…)

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All the single ladies: a fascinating reflection on marriage in the modern world. Long, but worth it!

A pretty convincing argument for why Miley Cyrus is hipper and more liberal than you.

“There was always something a little weird about uncle Joey to me.”A nostalgic look back at the crazy world of Full House.

Remember girls! “A man expects you to keep your dignity all evening.” Tips for single women from 1938.

How to market “girly” products to men.

New obsession: I’m CAPTIVATED by the beautiful fashion photography of Krzysztof Wyzynski.

A super cute baby polar bear. Is there anything else to say really? (more…)

Why I wish Taylor Swift was my best friend

Sometimes I think I can kind of trick people into thinking I’m cool. I try to impress people with my ability to sing along to Rage Against the Machine and my love for Fight Club, and sometimes I even convince myself that I’m a little bit rock and roll. But other times, I just come right out with it: I wish Taylor Swift was my best friend.

Listen for a minute. It’s easy to dismiss her and think she’s all sugary sweet and stupid. I mean, a) she’s a young female pop singer, b) she hangs around with that whole Disney Channel crowd, c) she sings about boys and high school, and d) she’s so pretty, with her long blonde curls and a wardrobe full of sweetly romantic dresses. But seriously? She’s just about the coolest girl in the world. She’s smart, she’s hilarious, she has class, and she has guts. And yeah, she’s so nice – but she also has just the right amount of bitchiness that I think we’d get along just perfectly. (more…)

9 awesome books I read in 2011

Because it’s a new year and I can’t resist a best-of-2011 post, and because someone asked me to recommend my favourite book from my list of what I read last year, and because choosing a favourite book is a bit like choosing a favourite song, I thought I’d choose nine. This is in no particular order, and a bit of a random selection anyway… but here are some books you should most definitely read if you haven’t already…

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

A Pale View Of Hills ishiguro

This haunting, poignant novella weaves together two stories that become more and more blurred as they progress. Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living in England, is dealing with the recent suicide of her daughter. Her memories take her back to a summer in Nagasaki where she forged a strange friendship with a woman named Sachiko and her odd and withdrawn young daughter.

A lot is left unspoken, and the sense that things aren’t quite as they seem, that Etsuko’s narration might not be completely reliable, creeps up on you quietly. This was Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel and it shares the melancholy, disturbing feel of the more popular Never Let Me Go, but in my opinion, is perhaps even more chilling and thought-provoking. (more…)

In which I talk about Andrej Pejic some more

Andrej Pejic Hema lingerie ad

(Edit July 2014: This was written when Andreja was going by Andrej and using male pronouns. At the time, it was to the best of my knowledge that she identified as male. Any essay I would write about her today would look very different, though still celebrating how amazing she is.)

Andrej Pejic modelling bras for Hema, and why I think he is just the coolest

Okay, so anyone who has spent any time with me in the past six months or so will know that I’m completely enthralled by Andrej Pejic. I think he’s an absolute genius, and he inspires me in a lot of ways. Firstly, in the obvious sense – he inspires me because of his utterly captivating, otherworldly beauty, the way he challenges boundary after boundary, the way he continues to take everyone’s breath away with every new outfit, every new runway show, every fashion editorial.

But maybe more than that, he inspires me because he just seems so completely serene while he does it all. Obviously I have no idea how he really feels inside – but you get the sense that he’s genuinely just really comfortable with who he is, that he actually doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He just does his own thing, and he does it without being all defensive and “hey fuck you man!” about it. He’s only just turned 20, but there’s something really mature about they way he seems to really know himself.

Anyway. So this week he’s making headlines for one of his latest gigs – modelling push-up bras for Hema lingerie. Which is pure genius,  and with Andrej’s sassy, sardonic sense of humour you can just tell he loves the whole idea of it. A lot of the things he says or does, it’s like he’s secretly laughing, and you can just tell he kind of thinks this is a scream. It’s kind of on the same wavelength as the incredibly clever Dermablend concealer ad Rico Genest (better known as Zombie Boy) starred in, and I think it’s very cool. (more…)

Getting Women to the Top

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In a lot of ways, we’re incredibly lucky. We’ve grown up in a time when it feels perfectly reasonable to believe, as young women, that the world is our oyster. We don’t have the same restrictions as previous generations of women did. We can have all the same high-powered jobs as men can; we know we’re just as smart, and they know it now too. Studies show that we’re still not quite earning equal pay, but we are certainly making huge strides towards gender equality in the workplace.

I recently watched a strikingly eloquent speech by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, on that addressed this very issue. I’ve heard plenty of people talk about the glass ceiling before; we all have, to the extent that it can seem redundant. But Sandberg’s talk struck me differently. Maybe it’s because of her impeccable poise and the aura of intelligence that just seems to surround some people, but for whatever reason, her message really got through to me. And instead of simply bemoaning the lack of female leaders in the world, she was actually suggesting some very sensible things women can do to start to change this trend. (more…)